I have reviewed books from Westbow publishing before–Thomas Nelson’s Self Publishing Imprint. Like my previous reviews, I find I am forced to write a rather critical review. The problem with self published books is that there is no publisher, editor, or literary referee to vet the book for publication. It doesn’t mean there can’t be a good self published book, because clearly there are. Yet without a good copy editor errors in spelling, grammar and formatting inevitably find their way to the page.
Trinitarian Letters: Your Adoption and Inclusion in the Life of God by Paul Kurts is fraught with errors. There are embarrassing spelling and grammar errors (‘Calvinism and Armenianism, anyone?). There are errors in the book’s formatting (i.e. the chapter entitled, ‘Do Scriptures Contradict the Gospel? Pt.2,’ appears in the book just before what is presumably part one). There are formatting inconsistencies (i.e. some chapters have ‘Paul Kurts,’ posted under the title or ‘by Paul Kurts,’ while others have nothing) revealing that little has been done to prepare this collection for publication. There is also no hint of internal organization of the chapters. But the biggest errors in this book are errors in literary style. Kurts makes his theological points by peppering his texts with ALL CAPS WORDS AND PHRASES and an an overuse of exclamation points!!!! His TABLE OF CONTENTS IS FOUR SOLID PAGES OF ALL CAPS TEXT. The most charitable way I know to read this book is to allow that Kurts is a career preacher and many of these ‘letters’ would actually communicate effectively as spoken word. As a book though, this is difficult at best.
None of these criticisms touch on the substance of this book, but unfortunately presentation matters if you are going to get your point across. I found this book a difficult slog and it slowed my normal voracious reading pace to a snail’s crawl. But does Kurts have something worth saying? I think so. Kurts seeks to say some good things about our Perichoretic union and full inclusion in the life of God. He says numerous times throughout his book that he is representing the ideas of ‘men like Karl Barth, T.F. Torrance, J. B. Torrance, C. Baxter Kruger, Colin Gunton, Michael Jinkins, Robert Capon’ and others. But while their books tend to be tomes of academic theology. Kurts is writing in layperson’s language (ix).
I have deep respect for Kurts reading list and am sympathetic to many of his theological points. I also found some of his readings of individual passages of scripture insightful if not compelling. However there is zero footnotes and the biblical references are somewhat cherry-picked. This makes the book feel more like proof-texting and one that has a sustained engagement with the Bible or theological literature.
So I give this book a single star review, while acknowledging that with a good publisher and editor, Kurts may have actually written a book worth reading. ★
I was given this book for purposes of review by SpeakEasy and have given you my honest review.